From CTO to Chief Transformative Officer[CTO]

CTO to Chief Transformative officer


The Indian banking sector is one of the fastest adopters of technology today. Quite naturally, CTOs became a necessity to hire for banks long ago. In alliance with the express tech-driven changes, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 2017 started urging the banks to appoint qualified chiefs to head the critical finance and technology functions.

CTOs in the banking sector is now considered as chief transformation officers, and this shift requires them to stretch beyond the tasks of monitoring technology performance, bringing reliability, and managing a lean operation. They are now donning multiple hats – upkeep Risk Governance and moving away from a support role to Strategic Partnership role and playing a pivotal role in incubating new business lines and reinventing/innovating business processes for the banks.

In short, the CTO has moved to the top of the table in the process of reinvention for the banking sector.

Unforeseen challenges

In 2018 alone, $112 billion was pumped into innovative companies that pursue technological innovation in the banking sector. The BFSI sector revolves around building more customer-centric products. The CTO thus faces several challenges while digitally transforming the banks and making them more customer-centric.

Below are the two critical challenges that every CTO must tackle.

Regulatory: – Navigating through regulations in terms of data and government policies in Indian & South East Asian markets can be a bit blurry and challenging because these policies and regulations are not well defined and are still at their nascence stage. It is important for a CTO to create a balance between driving disruption by offering more data-centric customized products while following regulatory compliances.

Digital Transformation: – Banks have been operating and offering products under a Set guideline for years. The focus is shifting to Class banking, even in mass banking, with the introduction of value-added and customized products. The focus has changed from running a manpower heavy operation to a tech-heavy operation. The branches are run on the concept of 24X7 working, made possible through the use of telebanking, ATMs, internet banking, mobile banking, and e-banking. It is challenging for a CTO to strike the balance and drive the transformation, without disrupting the daily cycle.

It’s also the right time for the CTOs to focus on industry collaborations at a time when nimble fintechs are disrupting the market.

Fintech companies are often at the forefront of creating new products, interfaces, and delivery channels. They are leveraging all available technologies to reach out to customers which were inaccessible earlier. I think it’s important that CTOs who have been in the industry for long should keep their eyes out for the innovators and haunch early strategic partnership to leverage their strengths in taking their organization forward.